Do you have ideas about how to improve the Co+op? Are you passionate about making the store an essential part of our community? Now is the time to start thinking about serving on the Co+op’s nine-person Board of Directors. Voting doesn’t start until the Annual Meeting on April 19, but there are a few things prospective candidates must do before then.

To qualify, a board candidate must be a Los Alamos Co+operative Market member in good standing for the four months prior to the election. Candidates declare their intent to run by reading the Candidate Information and emailing their responses to the “Board Candidate Questions” to secretary@losalamos.coop by March 22.

The Board wants to encourage interested candidates to obtain a good understanding of board duties and responsibilities. To that end, it suggests that candidates take any or all of the following steps in addition to responding to the Board Candidate Questions:

  • Read the Board Candidate Information Packet (answering the questions included here is mandatory)
  • Attend a board meeting prior to the election (the next one is Wednesday, March 22, at 6 p.m. at ProjectY)
  • Meet with a current board director for an informal discussion about board duties and responsibilities

Although the steps outlined above are optional, ballots will indicate whether or not candidates have completed them.

The Board looks forward to receiving your application!

The Co+op has several volunteer opportunities available for members:

  • Raised bed gardening
  • Composting
  • Helping during our events and member drives
  • Teaching a class (yoga, tai chi, cooking, gardening, meal planning, etc.)
  • Seasonal decoration help
  • Help during our new “sprouts” program for kids and families
  • Assisting with Terracycle recycling
  • Scanning documents
  • Assisting with our newsletter
  • Delivering to our home-bound shoppers

What do I get for volunteering?

  • Community
  • New friends
  • First in the know about new products
  • 5 percent discount for every hour you help us

If you are interested in learning more—or if you have an idea for a different volunteer opportunity—please contact Outreach Manager Jen Bennett via email (outreach@losalamos.coop) or by calling her at the store.

In February, Co+op investors should have received a letter previewing the store’s 2016 financial and operational results and addressing the repayment of member loans. If you are an investor and you did not receive the letter, please email board@losalamos.coop, and we will verify your mailing address.

To those investors who did receive the letter, thank you for responding so promptly. The Board appreciates your continued support of the store.

Dear Co+op member-owners,

The Los Alamos Cooperative Market Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Tim Morrison has accepted the position of permanent general manager.

Morrison was named interim general manager on June 1, 2016, and has been working on improving customer service, staff morale, and sales during the past seven months. At the board meeting on Thursday, January 26, 2017, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to offer the permanent general manager position to Morrison.

Morrison, who served as the store manager of La Montañita’s Gallup location in 2008 and as LACM’s front end manager from 2011–2015, brings a wealth of co-op and management experience to LACM. “I’m honored that the Board has confidence in me to continue to grow sales and make the Co+op profitable,” he says.

The Board appreciates our customers’ continued dedication to the Co+op during these past almost six years. Our goal has always been for the Co+op to be a place where people in our community want to shop, work, and spend time. We look forward to embarking on the next steps in LACM’s journey with you, and we welcome your positive interactions and feedback with Tim Morrison as your new general manager.

Sincerely,
Los Alamos Cooperative Market Board of Directors

I want to share some of the recent experiences I’ve had as a new board member and go behind the scenes a little bit to encourage some of our members to consider running for one of the upcoming board vacancies this spring.

Like many members, I was genuinely concerned for the Co+op and some of the challenges I saw affecting business during the past few years. As a member and customer, I had some very basic exposure to some of the issues affecting the staff, general manager, vendors etc.

Yet, at the same time I was always impressed with the level of commitment I found at every level of the organization. Obviously there were times when morale was low but the core loyalty to the Co+op as a business and the co-op ideals have always been impressive to me.

When I was approached to volunteer for the board, I was pretty reluctant because like everybody else on the planet I’m busy with work, family, and life in general. However,  the more I talked with staff, members, customers, and board members I began to think I might have an opportunity to contribute.

That said, I had some real doubts about my ability to be effective in a group decision-making environment that I thought was focused on reaching consensus.

Six months into this what I have experienced has been very rewarding, and like the other co-op constituencies the other board members I work with are an amazingly committed and loyal group of people.

A little side note here: This past summer, I was traveling to Minneapolis, and General Manager Tim Morrison asked me to make a trip to a well-known and high-performing co-op called The Wedge. I stopped in and got some dinner at The Wedge hot bar and was very pleased with my overall experience with the store, staff, and quality of food. But my main take away from that visit was how amazingly blessed we are to have our little Co+op here in Los Alamos. From my perspective, our store was equal if not better in overall food quality, staff awesomeness, and focus on co-op ideals.

So I think it’s very important to thank everyone involved in conceiving, starting, funding, building, and sustaining this little gem we have here. I also want to encourage you to consider joining the board in this next election. The election takes place at our annual meeting in April; four board positions will be open.

I know you have doubts like I did. But I realized that I have something to contribute and like you I have a unique perspective. Our board thrives (I now know) on this diversity and our Co+op is thriving because everyone involved is committed to it’s growth.

Please email me and let me know you’d like to join our board of directors. I’ll send you the election details and get you started. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!

—Steve Snapp, board member

The Co+op Board of Directors and staff are excited to announce the addition of an auxiliary board member. As a non-voting staff representative, Jake Svard will attend all board meetings and provide valuable insight into staff views and concerns.

“In this new staff-elected, volunteer capacity I will represent the staff by ensuring employee comments and concerns are relayed to the board to continually promote increased transparency and communication for our store,” he says.

“I love food and sharing my love of food with others,” says Jen Bennett, who was hired as the Co+op’s marketing coordinator in January. Previously, Bennett was a marketing and community liaison for Whole Foods Market in Silicon Valley.

At LACM, Bennett’s primary goal is to increase awareness of the store around town. “I’d like to help the store become even more of a destination,” she says, noting that her favorite thing about the Co+op is the sense of community—and the “decent coffee beans at a fair price.”

Bennett has only been in town for four months and has quickly come to feel at home in New Mexico. “I love the hiking and the feeling of being nestled in the mountains,” she says. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, canning, crafting, and working out at the Y. Bennett also works part-time at the Los Alamos Historical Society.

Bennett, who has lived in western Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard, also likes the store’s smell. “I can’t believe that the Co+op here smells like all of the co-ops in New England have smelled for the past 40 years!”

That’s just one sign that the Co+op is doing something right—and Bennett will make sure the community knows it.

The Co+op will be operating under different holiday hours than in previous years. Please note the following:

  •  Christmas Eve, December 24: store closes at 5 p.m.
  •  Christmas Day, December 25: store closed
  •  New Year’s Eve, December 31: store closes at 6 p.m.
  •  New Year’s Day, January 1: store opens at 10 a.m.

Los Alamos Co+op Market celebrates the power of living connected to each other and to the places that surround us. The Co+op does this by using seven universal principles: voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community. As members, your participation is key. Participation can take many forms, such as shopping, volunteering, promoting, voting, or running for the Board of Directors.

On October 22, the Co+op Board of Directors and Interim General Manager Tim Morrison met for an all-day retreat that included education, bonding, strategic planning, and of course good food. This important annual meeting is always well received and affords the Board and GM a chance for more in-depth discussion, team building, refocusing, and reflection. Topics of discussion for this year included reinvigorating board culture and looking toward the future.

The following weekend, four members of the board attended a Co-op Café in Albuquerque. The event was an opportunity to network with people from other co-ops around our region, to discuss challenges co-ops face in today’s changing marketplace, and to brainstorm solutions for keeping co-ops relevant in our local communities. Stay tuned as some of these great ideas become reality at our Co+op!

—Karen Kendall, Board Treasurer

After traveling and working on farms in Europe all summer, former interim general manager Rebekah Valentine returned to the Co+op as the wellness buyer in mid-August.

“I applied for the wellness buyer position because it complements my interests in herbal and natural wellness/medicine and yet has remarkably less responsibility than my previous position,” she says, noting that one of her main goals is to make the department as user-friendly as possible.

“It’s great to have Bekah back,” says Interim General Manager Tim Morrison. “She’s managed several different departments and the entire store. She’s an asset to the team, and it’s helpful to have someone who can basically field anything.”